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Is there any principle of the gospel more difficult to live than that of forgiveness? I am intrigued by the relationship between love and forgiveness. I think the extent to which we forgive others is a good indication of our love for them. I don’t think it is possible to really love someone while simultaneously harboring a grudge against them.
I also think that we are most prone to be hurt, offended, or disappointed by those closest to us that we love the most. Perhaps this is why the family is the laboratory for learning and living gospel principles. It is the family where our ability to love and forgive is most tested.
I still remember when my stake president- a man I admire and that I had the good fortune of working with- read this poem at least 15 years ago. It is written by Marguerite Stewart:
When I went to the door, at the whisper of knocking,
I saw Simeon Gantner’s daughter, Kathleen, standing
There, in her shawl and her shame, sent to ask
“Forgiveness Flour” for her bread. “Forgiveness Flour,”
We call it in our corner. If one has erred, one
Is sent to ask for flour of his neighbors. If they loan it
To him, that means he can stay, but if they refuse, he had
Best take himself off. I looked at Kathleen . . .
What a jewel of a daughter, though not much like her
Father, more’s the pity. “I’ll give you flour,” I
Said, and went to measure it. Measuring was the rub.
If I gave too much, neighbors would think I made sin
Easy, but if I gave too little, they would label me
“Close.” While I stood measuring, Joel, my husband
Came in from the mill, a great bag of flour on his
Shoulder, and seeing her there, shrinking in the
Doorway, he tossed the bag at her feet. “Here, take
All of it.” And so she had flour for many loaves,
While I stood measuring.
This talk on forgiveness is also excellent. I hope that I can learn to be more loving and forgiving.